Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Sasha's book review
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Picked up a great copy of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Beautifully illustrated by engravings by Gustave Dore. Ah!

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/732562.The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5682
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just noticed this thread. . . Here's a review of a book I read a few years ago: Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad by William Craig, US author and historian. This isn't my first book on Stalingrad, I've read several others as well, and let me tell you, this has got to be the ultimate story of human struggle and survival.

This very readable book is less about the war, and more about what men will do to survive as they are exposed to a horrific environment. During my own military service we experienced extended periods with little sleep, little food, and inclement weather. Not fun, but at the end of it all we went back home to base. The Germans (Yes, the Germans. I use them, because that's who this book is really about) in Stalingrad suffered a thousandfold more and were never certain that they would survive or see their homes or loved ones again, particularly after things started going south for them.

This book is based on hundreds of interviews the author had with the participants in the battle. The stories of cannibalism are very gripping. When food runs out we learn what men are capable of in order to survive. The lengths men would go to in an effort to get on one of the last flights out of Stalingrad are outlined here, even something so heart-wrenching as an Italian soldier in captivity being beaten by the Russians for speaking out about something, and for good measure, the Russians killing the puppy that had accompanied him before and during his trek into captivity. The whole thing is so sad..... the author succeeds in putting a human face to this disaster and the men portrayed in it deserve our respect for what they had to endure.

I'll be back on this thread again.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, read that one a few years ago. Is quite readable. Good recommendation.

Another good book along these lines is Ivan's War, by Catherine Merridale. Takes an in-depth look at the war from the view point of the foot soldier slogging it out. Some of the stories related make for spine shudders and one wonders why a female would have chosen this topic to research. But I'm glad she did, as the result is entralling, especially in its unflinching depiction of some of the less glorious aspects of war as it affects the civilian populations of both sides. Perhaps a male wouldn't be able to write that?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/books/15grim.html?_r=1
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How Russia Shaped the Modern World - Steven G Marks

http://www.amazon.com/Russia-Shaped-Modern-World-Anti-Semitism/dp/0691118450

A splendid read! Enthralling stuff that covers many cultural and social innovations that have come from Russia and influence the globe. - e.g. Tolstoy's influence on Gandhi, Kropotkin and the environmental movement, Russian anarchism and modern terrorism. Very lucid writing style too.

A few years back I read 'How Britain Made the Modern World', by Niall Ferguson. Dreadful piffle, which was simply an attempt to justify the ultimate Piggie empire's global crimes, mainly be saying that other empires were crueller, and look at all the innovations that came from it, hooray! This Russian book is far more interesting, and is certainly not pro-Russian propaganda. Themes like anti-Semitism don't lend themselves to glorious depictions of any nation. This book is also a little more humble, in that it only claims that some aspects of Russian 'shaped' the modern world, rather can 'making' it.

Engrossing read.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11714
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything by HANS FALLADA. His "Anitifa" novel has at last become popular in the West in a new (bad) trabslation." Alone in Berlin" is the title in the UK - may be diffreent over the pond. Also very good is "Little Man, What Now ?" about the problems of living in Weimar Germany.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Scot

What do you make of this fella?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/jan/25/digestedread
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spies and Commissars - Robert Service

Always know what you are getting with any of Service's books. Good, solid, meaty, but highly readable prose. This book deals with the Russian Revolution from both the perspective of the participants, and, more importantly, from the point of view of Western intelligence. Gripping stuff. How could it not be with such characters as Sidney 'Ace of Spies' Reilly.

The only problem with Service's output is that he is still basically a piggie sympathiser, even though he tries to suppress obvious bourgeois outbursts. Still, the words 'evil', 'criminal', 'inhuman' etc. mar the page a lot as he tries to convey the epic tale of those tumultuous years.

Still, well-written, and worth the read.

Makes me want to watch the TV series again.

Great show. Plus a killer tune from Dmitry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDW4VJGKLAQ&feature=related
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 856
Location: Here, There and Everywhere! :D

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Spies and Commissars - Robert Service

Always know what you are getting with any of Service's books. Good, solid, meaty, but highly readable prose. This book deals with the Russian Revolution from both the perspective of the participants, and, more importantly, from the point of view of Western intelligence. Gripping stuff. How could it not be with such characters as Sidney 'Ace of Spies' Reilly.

The only problem with Service's output is that he is still basically a piggie sympathiser, even though he tries to suppress obvious bourgeois outbursts. Still, the words 'evil', 'criminal', 'inhuman' etc. mar the page a lot as he tries to convey the epic tale of those tumultuous years.

Still, well-written, and worth the read.


I read Trotsky by the same guy and now thing he's a but rubbish. Shocked Recently there was a bit of arguing about Orlando Figs and here is Robert Service writing about it. Wow! Is this guy keen to tell you about his boregouis lifestyle:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/apr/23/figes-shameful-admission
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, popular historians tend to be a precious lot. Wonder if any of them worked a spell in EFL : )
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the shadow of the Sword - Tom Holland

I like most of Holland's work. Great narrative history, full of verve and turn of phrase. Rubicon is still my favourite. This latest one though does seem to stretching the definition of history. It's on the bestseller list, but also in the news for controversy about not only its academic credibility, but also its possible defamation of Islam. Its sister TV programme has garnered many complaints already, apparently.

On the whole, it is a well-written text, and covers the essential history of the dramatic rise of the Muslim world as the twin superpowers of Rome/Constantinople and Persia finally collapsed, after centuries of exhausting conflict with each other.

It's when we get to the documentation that things get a little ropy. As Holland says, there is precious little evidence dating from the time of events in the Koran. In the absence of this, Holland makes many claims - all of them surprising - which do not seem to be easy to prove or disprove. For example, he voices doubt over the Meccan origins of Islam, based on what appear to me to be tortured arguments.

However, it is important to add that this book is in no rabid way anti-Arab or Muslim propaganda. Some may say that investigating such matters, which implies doubting their truth, is a form of disrespect, and would not make this book popular with the devout. But it is a world of difference from the sort of thing in a recent low-budget film, that tended to upset people.

Worth the read, in the end, but not so sure that the conclusions will be universally admired...

http://www.amazon.com/In-Shadow-Sword-Global-Empire/dp/0385531354
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Art Under Stalin - Matthew Cullerne Bown

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Stalin-Matthew-Cullerne-Bown/dp/0841912998

Perhaps the Golden Age of all art ever in the history of all mankind everywhere? Prepare for a scholarly journey through the utopian creativity that flowered under the aegis of the Great Helmsman. Painting, sculpture, architecture, industrial design - all flourished under the guidance of clear-thinking Bolshevism, once the rot of formalism had been banished. The only problem with this publication is that none of the images are in colour. Not too surprising, given the piggie nature of the printing-houses which produced it. Were probably collapsing under the weight of their own greed. Still, there aren't too many English language books celebrating the joy that was Stalinist art. So, rush to your local book shop now and order it right away!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language - Mark Forsyth.

A joy to read when you want to pass a snowy Moscow afternoon away! A whimsical little potboiler it may be, but it is still filled with interesting tit-bits about English vocabulary that even TEFL gods may not know. So happy Ded Moroz left this under the New Year tree for me!


http://www.amazon.com/The-Etymologicon-Circular-Connections-ebook/dp/B005SZ0VXS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Madonnas of Leningrad - Debra Dean

This is the type of book I absolutely hate: chic lit drowning in gushings of sentimentality, with tortured prose and endlessly tearful characters. Hate, hate, hate! So it was a surprise to me that the above title is nothing like that. Guilty of judging a book by its cover, tsk tsk.

It was written from a female point of view, I suppose, but it isn't girlie nonsense. It could have fallen into the trap of saccharine story-telling, but it doesn't. The prose style is quite haunting in parts. I dare say more than a few of its readers have felt a tear in their eye.

It is still not my favourite type of book, but it is at least an interesting read. Though it suffers a little from some rather awkward and unnatural depictions of Russian culture ( the author has never been to Russia, in fairness) it has a great sections dealing with the siege of Leningrad. It uses 'flashback' heavily, and you can almost see the movie version potential of this novel as you read it.

Anyway, read a synopsis in the link below. I'm off now to get stuck into my new biography of Stalin. Much more my line.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/jul/01/featuresreviews.guardianreview14
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Game of Thrones.

I still will not concede that the US has a Tolkien, but it's a very acceptable break between Econ papers. And quite nicely reflective of the television series Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The Madonnas of Leningrad - Debra Dean


I admit I'm always leery of writers with the abbreviated form of the old Greek name above.

Perhaps a thread on the stereotypical connotations of common names would be interesting....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC